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Wu Bingsong

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How to learn a language better ?

I want to be a translater ,but I am not good at English ,especilly there are many differences in Chinese and English ,and in my school ,there are little chances to speak English .So ,how to learn a language effictively ? .

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    Oct 4 2013: This is very simple. To be good at a language you have to use it; but not necessarily with someone else. Apply it to your day to day life. When you see a tree, tell yourself that it's a tree in English. You don't have to amass a huge vocabulary to translate something; you merely have to know what the simple words mean.

    Good luck!
    Michael
  • Oct 3 2013: English is actually one of the hardest languages to learn... there are a lot of grammatical nuances that can confuse a lot of non-native english speakers. I was exposed to english since 4 years of age and got to know the language very well. however, I am not a native speaker.

    From the way you wrote your introduction above, i can say you are actually doing very well ! You say you have difficulty but i can understand your intentions very clearly, and from most of the post below you can understand others very well.

    You already have the basic foundations.. all you need now is practice and unfortunately there is no substitute for it.

    One of the difficult things for a chinese speaker to do is to speak with an understandable english tone.. it has something to do with the way putonghua is spoken that makes it difficult to pronounce english words.

    My advice would be, if your priority is to understand english in a quicker way, you'll have to read more and listen to standard conversational english more.

    If your priority is to speak english, you'll have to practice with an english speaker because that would almost be the only way you can get feedback with how you pronounce certain words and it trains your brain to express your thoughts into direct english without thinking of the chinese terms and translating it in your head.

    Goodluck.
  • Oct 3 2013: Hi Dear Wu,interest is the best teacher to learn anything:)
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      Oct 3 2013: I agree with u , and it is luck that I am intersted in it ~
  • Oct 2 2013: Are there people interested in learning Chinese that you can SKYPE?
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      Oct 3 2013: I haven't uesd SKYPE .What is it ?
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        Oct 3 2013: It's a software like our wechat. It's very good for your colloquial English and understanding of foreigners' way of thinking. But being a translator needs to learn more grammatical knowledge, I think you have to learn it from some more authoritative resources.
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    Oct 2 2013: Hi, Little Wu, I'd like to advise you to be open to speak to English native speakers and always THINK in English, speak as much English as you can in your life. If you want an English learning and Speaking environment, you may consider studying in Wall Street English. They have a complete English speaking and learning background. If you want self-teaching, I recommend you the following websites:
    沪江英语:http://www.hjenglish.com/level/zhichangxinren/
    美国之音:http://www.tingvoa.com/html/20130217/107074.html
    And also a magazine with them:英语角 The English Corner(it's with mp3 and Chinese translations) . You can buy it on Amazon.

    Hope they can boost your efficiency in learning English~!:)
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      Oct 3 2013: thank you ~ it is very helpful ~ I'll try my best to teach by myself ~
  • Da Way

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    Oct 6 2013: Force yourself to think in that language when you speak it.

    People generally say you only start to think in that language after you've been speaking it for a few years, but if you force yourself to do so at a much earlier stage, you accelerate much faster.
  • Oct 5 2013: There are many open source programs which teach you how to speak English as well as many other languages. If you have good computer connected speakers or earphone/earbuds, you can listen to the words or sentences shown on the screen being spoken through the speakers. And if you have an additional tape recorder, you can even record both the computer generated sound coupled with your own voiced imitation. This can then help you to refine your pronunciation. When you improved through this stage, then you can record an entire news report in English, practice on your own to simulate the news-casters by repeated trials. With the help of modern computer technology, it's much easier for you to learn how to speak English, compared what I had to go through when I was at your age.
    If you want to find such program, you can do a Google Search on terms such as "English Conversation for Travelers", they are usually free.
    wish you good luck.
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    Oct 4 2013: If you can't speak much, then listen, read and write, listen, read and write, etc.
  • W T 100+

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    Oct 3 2013: Hi Wu.
    I have a question for you.
    Is it common to say 'hello boy' in Chinese?
    This is not common in English.
    I noticed that two people addressed you this way.
    I am curious to know your answer.
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      Oct 3 2013: In my experience,in Chinese ,we often just say 'hello' with one's name or nickname , it is not often heard in daily life that 'hello boy ' .But we often use it in English ,I do not know why this happen .
      • W T 100+

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        Oct 3 2013: It sounds kind of weird....

        I just thought I'd let you know, since you want to learn English.

        In the old days, older boys would call out to little kids "hey boy!", when they didn't know their name.
        But here, on TED, we know your name, so it just looks a bit strange for someone to address you in this fashion.

        Thank you Wu for answering my question.

        I learned English at a young age. I am of Spanish origin.
        What helped me was to be immersed in English.
        Are there no Americans living near you that you could associate with them and practice with a native speaker at least once a week?
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    Oct 3 2013: Hello boy , my English lost too , so we should work harder and harder ,step by step ,
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      Oct 3 2013: I think so , though it is difficult ,we have to learn it without giving up .
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    Oct 3 2013: Hey,boy.It's not hard to learn a language, as you want, you'll make it. However, i have to say it's a little bit hard for you to learn English in China. We don't have much chance to practice and take a real conversation with native speakers. While that doesn't mean you can't learn it well by make chances on your own. Studying abroad would be an effective way, even an overseas intership would help a lot. And you can also watch more American TV shows to practice your listening, you'd better get used to the dialects of the native speaker which you may encounter in your translator life.
    PS.Some Chinese Students can't distinguish the conception of Translater and Interpreter. Being an interpreter is much more difficult than a translater.
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      Oct 3 2013: Recently, I am listen to CNN, but it is difficult many times ,the speed of its speaking and large number of new words .So I often can't understand what are they saying .
      Maybe whatever translater or interpreter , whether it is hard is depend on who is doing it .Everyone has his/her own advantages .
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        Oct 4 2013: Great~I belive you'll make it! Watching CNN news is a good way, if you cannot undertand it, just play it again. 3 more times, you'll get a better understanding of it~ Good luck~
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    Oct 3 2013: The best advice that someone can give you is to READ A LOT. Never mind if you don't understand or you are slow at doing it, you have to, so to say, get mechanical to a certain point until you are totally used to it. I recommend online courses and discussions, which can improve your understanding of language overall. Chinese is one of the hardest languages to learn, so I think that you won't have any problems in comprehending English. Good luck :)
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      Oct 3 2013: Thank you for your advance ~ ‘Reading a lot' looks helpful to me ,~
  • Oct 3 2013: Some people have natural aptitudes like I don't.

    It is best to start as a child which you aren't.

    Just bury yourself in the desired language and see how it works out. Well post this question again.
    Badly do something else.